Meet Deborah.

Posted by on Dec 5, 2020

Deborah Jenkins in her One of a Kind Booth circa 2019. Sorry to the friend I cropped out….except for her hand on Deborah’s shoulder.

I met Deborah Jenkins, of Antigonish Bag Company, at the Winter One of a Kind Show in 2018.  At that time, Deborah was a new exhibitor in the “Rising Stars” section of the show.

I was attracted to Deborah’s booth because of the various bag designs and the assorted colours. As a knitter, I am always on the lookout for project bags of various sizes. So when she whipped out her knitting project to work on when the show was slow, I just had to go over and check out both her bags and her knitting project!

Tiny Tote, waxed, hand-dyed canvas, unlined, 10” wide x 8” tall with veg tanned leather handles $25.00. Shown in Ink/black/grey colour, other colours available. Shown with matching, lined Coin/Notion Purse, $13.00.

Deborah makes each of her bags, by hand, one-at-a-time in her studio in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Starting with un-dyed canvas, she sews a variety of shapes and sizes of bags. Once she has created the bag shape, she hand dyes her bags in an assortment of colours, with environmentally-friendly, direct dyes. Some are solidly dyed with saturated colour. Others are “dip-dyed”: the bottom and the top are dipped in the dye bath, leaving the middle section the natural canvas colour. Some are dyed more than one colour. Others are over-dyed – one colour over another – to create a completely different colour on sections of the bags. Each one is unique!

Variety of Coin/Notion Purse colours. Hand-dyed, unwaxed canvas, with complimentary fabric lining. 5″ wide x 4″ tall. $13.00

Once the dyeing is done, she applies beeswax to coat the entire bag. This gives the bags added strength, durability and stiffness, as well as making the dyed colours more vibrant. Over time, the beeswaxed bags become softer with use. All of Deborah’s bag designs are waxed, except for her small coin/notion purses.

She then cuts and adds her veg tanned leather accents like handles. The leather handles are riveted onto each bag.

For my Holiday event, we decided on her Tiny Totes, because they make great small project bags if you’re a fibre enthusiast. The matching or complimentary coin purses are great notions holders for your craft/knitting project, and a couple of her Large Totes, great for any larger fibre project.

Large Totes: 19” wide x 14” tall and a 6.5” flat bottom. All veg tanned leather handles, removable fabric liner with a zipper closure. Exterior material is hand-dyed waxed canvas. $150.00.

I purchased both a Large Tote and a Tiny Tote from Deborah and use both of them as knitting project bags. The Tiny Tote is perfect for smaller projects such as socks or cowls, and the Large Tote is the best for any sweater or cardigan project I have on the go.

The Large Tote is really two bags in one, as you can remove the fabric lining. You just zip the liner closed, unsnap it, and remove your knitting project intact. Then you can use the waxed canvas outer bag as a market bag, or take it to the beach. 


Instagram: @antigonishbagco

This is the sixth in a series of highlights of Artists whose work will be available at my One of a Kind Artisan Holiday Show, starting on Thursday, November 26th and running everyday until Wednesday, December 23rd.

If you’d like to view Deborah’s work at my studio, please book an appointment by clicking here. You can book one hour appointments, starting at Noon daily.

Now that we are back in full lockdown in Toronto, the online booking options have been changed to:

Zoom/FaceTime Meeting with curb-side pick up ONLY.  When you go to Zoom, there is an “additional notes” box. Please indicate your cell phone number, so that I am able to text/phone you when your purchase is ready for pick up.

Window/Studio Front Door Shopping with curb-side pick up. This is where you do come to my studio and we prop the front door open. I then bring the items you are interested in seeing to the front door for you to see. Once you have chosen your pieces, you can return to your car (bring a thermos of tea or coffee!), I will pack it all up and text you when it is ready and to arrange payment(s). So, one trip that will take care of both shopping and delivery!

Looking forward to seeing you then!